The Nitty-Gritty Details Of My Rewrite Process

For the past three weeks I've had my head buried in my first contracted book, now officially titled The Preacher's Bride. As you may remember, Bethany House sent me my first of three sets of edits. (For an outline of the editing process, click here.) The edits I'm currently tackling are called rewrites because they involve--well, LOTS of rewriting! (For more on what my editors asked me to change, click here.)

I didn't allow myself much time to wallow in the despair I initially felt after getting back my rewrites. Only hours after I got off the phone with my editor, I opened up a blank spreadsheet screen and started plodding through my book, chapter by chapter, scene by scene. I made notes in my spreadsheet of what I needed to change, add, or delete from every scene.

Then I started from page one implementing the major changes. In some places, all I've needed to do is tweak descriptions, add a sentence or two, delete a phrase, or simplify/clarify something. In other places, I've had to slash whole paragraphs, delete entire scenes, and in a couple of cases rewrite chapters.

As of today, I'm up to Chapter 21 out of 35. I've made it my goal to tackle one chapter a day. Some days I can race through a couple of chapters, especially if I see from my spreadsheet that the chapters are fairly clean. Other times I struggle to complete my daily goal and have to drag the chapter out over a couple of days.

The hardest part about the rewrite process is the cutting and pasting. If I have to delete a scene or chapter, I can't just throw it away. There are things within those scenes that are critical to my plot and character development. The trick is finding another place to seamlessly weave those details back into the story.

The best part about the rewriting is seeing the story come together in a new, but better way. My editors were completely right about most of the changes I needed to make. Now that I'm deep into the rewrite process, I can see the increased potential these changes are bringing. It's truly one of the most thrilling things I've experienced in my writing journey.

The most daunting aspect of the past few weeks has been the TIME factor. I've had to put my research for my second book on hold. Even though my rewrites aren't due until Christmas, I gave myself a personal goal of finishing them by Thanksgiving. If I continue to finish one chapter a day, then I should be able to meet my goal.

But TIME is incredibly hard to manage! My writing days are usually chaotic, and I'm having to learn how to balance new writing demands with life responsbilities. More about that later in the week. . .

For today, I'd love to hear your questions. I want my journey to publication to be an open book. So let me know what you're curious about! I'll keep a list and try to answer the questions in future posts. And if you don't have any questions, then just say "howdy" and let me know what you're up to these days!

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